Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Changing Big Twists to Little Twists

Syd had worn some thick two strand twists for just a few days, but they were exposed to rain and lots of wind, so they were starting to look pretty rough. The picture below doesn't really seem to show how much fuzz there actually was.

Instead of removing all the twists and doing a whole new style, I opted to change these big frizzy twists into smaller ones.

I did this by removing one twist at a time. After a twist is removed, it leaves behind two tendrils of detangled hair.

I added a bit of Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade to each tendril and turned each one into a new, smaller two strand twist.

I removed each big twist on her head one at a time and turned it into two fresh looking twists before moving on to the next one. Here is what it looked like after I had done about a third of her hair. You can see the difference between the bigger twists that looked old and the fresh new smaller twists that looked a lot neater.

Eventually I was done with all of her twists. This was a great way to move from one style to the next without having to fit an entire detangling session in between. And really...you just can't go wrong with a head full of basic two strand twists!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Syd Gives Herself a Braid Out

By now, Syd has become a pro when it comes to washing and detangling her hair without assistance from Mom. Unfortunately, she's not able to do many styles on her own. We decided to work on that and Syd did a braid out by herself for the first time.

She started by removing her Breast Cancer Awareness style. It had been in for about a week and a half and was very fuzzy. Her hair was still clean and didn't have any build up, so we moved straight from one style to the other without a wash in between.

I told her not to remove the entire style right away. She has a lot of hair and I thought it would be easier to work in sections, so she started by only removing the back section of the style. Then she split the back in half, putting the left part into a big loose braid to keep it out of the way. She focused on the back right section of hair first.

Now I had her divide that section of her hair into fourths again so that there will be four braids made out of this section. Just before braiding each section, she dampened it with a spray bottle and added a bit of Curls Creme Brule. Then she finger detangled, ran her denman through the section to distribute the product evenly, and braided it up. I stressed to her that she needed to start the braid as close to her scalp as possible and keep the braid tight all the way down.

Before long, that back right section was in four braids.

She did the same thing to the back right section and then moved up to the top, where the process was the same.

After what she said felt like forever (although the whole thing took less time than I expected), she put the last braid in.

She slept in those braids and removed them before school the next morning. I didn't get pictures of the removal process. We were a little rushed getting ready for the day, but she got the braids out while keeping most of the definition.

Since she had a hard time getting some of the braids close to her scalp, her roots were pretty fuzzy. She pulled the front half up, secured it with an ouchless band, and headed off to school.

Braid out success!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rae's Big Haircut for Locks of Love

I'm going to wander a bit from the tween styles and natural hair care issues this site normally features. Instead, I'm going to talk for just a few minutes about myself and another hair-related topic.

I got a haircut yesterday. But this was no ordinary haircut. This haircut resulted in this:

Those four ponytails measure 12 inches each and will be mailed to Locks of Love. Locks of Love is an organization that uses donated hair to create hairpieces for children who are suffering from hair loss due to a medical condition. I made a 13 inch donation a couple of years ago and decided that since my hair had gotten so long again, it was time for another major chop.

Before I headed out the door, my hair looked like this:

When I returned home, my hair looked like this:

I absolutely adore this new look, but I do believe I will be growing my hair out so that I can repeat this whole process again in a couple of years. My hair grows fast, and there are kids out there whose hair isn't growing at all. I can't think of one reason not to help my fast growing hair find a way onto the head where the hair won't grow.

I would also like to mention one more thing. Locks of Love requires a minimum donation of 10 inches of hair. If you have a little less length, but you're ready to donate,  there is another organization that might be for you. Pantene Beautiful Lengths accepts hair donations to make hairpieces for women who are fighting cancer and their minimum required length is 8 inches.

Another blogger mommy (and friend of mine) just donated her waist length hair, too. She is the author of the hair blog Girly and Curly. You should definitely go take a look at her new 'do, and be sure to check out the rest of her blog while you're there!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Attack of the Killer Hairbrush

We'll get to the above picture in a minute. First, let's play pretend. 

Picture this: You decide to grow a flower garden. You spend hours learning about which flowers will work best with the soil, temperatures, and amount of sunlight they will get in the new garden. You purchase all the tools you will need, you order high-priced seeds and plant food, and you even buy the perfect garden accessories to decorate your new garden. In time, you see the little seedlings start popping up from the soil and you get very excited.

About a month later, the plants are standing tall and have budding flowers at their tips. When you see this, you go to your garage and grab a rake. You take your rake over to the flower garden, drag the rake back and forth across the flowers without reason, and return the rake to its place in the garage. The following weekend, as you stand back and assess the state of your garden, you wonder why your flowers aren't as tall and pretty as the flowers in your neighbor's garden.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But that's exactly what some people do do their hair!

People go out of their way to buy the best products for their hair. They pay close attention to every single ingredient. And they make sure to even have the perfect looking accessories. But many people seem to forget that, like flowers, your hair needs to be handled with care. Raking through your tresses with a brush or comb will damage your hair just like the rake damaged the flowers in the illustration above.

I know it can be frustrating to have a head full of coils staring you down at the end of a long day. You're tired. You just want to relax. We've all been there. But that doesn't mean the right choice is to run a brush through those curls as fast as you can in an attempt to finish as quickly as possible. That may get that particular detangling session finished faster, but at what cost?

Tearing though your hair causes damage, plain and simple. And damaged hair actually becomes more difficult to detangle in the future because the damaged ends catch on the neighboring strands. This means even MORE detangling, and if you don't detangle gently it means even MORE damage. It's a vicious cycle.

I personally know people who spend a fortune on hair care products for themselves and/or their children in the search for something that will make their hair feel healthier and grow faster. But then they tear their hair to shreds with a brush. No product in the world can protect your strands from the ferocious attack of the killer hairbrush.

What you can use to fight off the damage caused by rough brushing is GENTLENESS. If your hair is tangled, be patient with it. Get it wet and load it up with conditioner. Use your fingers to separate those intertwined curls as much as possible before you reach for your comb or brush. Sure, you have to invest a little more time, but it's sooo worth it!

To see a head of hair being detangled gently, check out this post about detangling by the lovely and wise Miss A from Beads Braids & Beyond.

One more thing to remember: If you release your frustration onto your daughter's hair and start using a brush like a rake, you will likely cause pain for your child. And if hair time becomes something that your child dreads, how will she ever learn to embrace the beautiful curls she was born with? Your child's attitude is greatly influenced by yours, so take your time, detangle gently, and turn hair time into a time of bonding while you teach your daughter how to properly take care of those curls.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cornrow Braid Out

Syd hasn't been wearing her hair down very often lately. She has been very active and it's just easier to keep her hair braided to keep the tangles down. But if you've been reading for any length of time, then you're probably aware of Syd's love affair with big hair. So since we were planning to have a lazy weekend, I decided to give her a braid out for about a day and a half before I braided her Breast Cancer Awareness style.

We usually prefer the look of cornrow braid outs over braid outs that come from individual braids, so I put Syd's hair into 8 quick cornrows. There were only 4 across, but I split them in half with a part from ear to ear because I had dampened her hair before cornrowing and I wanted to use less hair in each cornrow so it could dry completely. They were a little fuzzy in this picture because she had just slept on them.

In the morning, I removed the cornrows. I was a little disappointed because her hair was still damp in some places, despite the fact that it hadn't been very wet the night before. We knew that her hair would get big and frizzy throughout the day, but neither of us are put off by big frizzy hair.

We were going to be outside for a lot of the day, and Syd didn't want her hair in her face, so we pulled the front part up with an ouchless band.

As it turns out, we didn't have that lazy weekend we had planned, but we did get some good quality time together. Here are a couple shots from our adventures that weekend. You can see that Syd's hair did, in fact, get a little poofy. And with the added volume (poofiness), we both thought it looked fabulous. :)

Syd was the navigator as we went through a couple miles of corn maze. :)
She was trying to reach those batons while hooked to a bungee cord in the back. Look at that determination on her face! FYI - She got all of the batons. If Syd has a goal, she WILL reach it! LOL

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness Style

I'm joining with some fellow bloggers this month to share styles that emphasize that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Before I explain how I did the style, I want to take just one minute to encourage all the ladies out there to PLEASE know your risk, remember to be aware of any changes in your breasts, and make sure you get your regular clinical breast exams. Breast cancer has affected multiple people in my family, and I can say with complete certainty that early detection and treatment is absolutely vital. If you're due to have a breast exam, don't put it off - call your doctor right away!

Quick fact: Did you know that it is recommended that women over the age of 20 are encouraged to have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years? Woman over 40 should have one annually. Again, call your doctor if it's time for your exam.

And now...moving on to hair:

To do Syd's style, I first parted her hair from ear to ear and cornrowed the back straight down in about 10 cornrows.
I promise the part goes straight across...she was just sitting funny in the picture. :)

Next, I cornrowed a ribbon shape into the top section of hair. Then I just cornrowed the rest down away from the ribbon. The top half looked like this:

After the cornrows were done, I used my plastic craft needle to wrap the ribbon shape with a long pink ribbon. When I ran out of cornrow and got down to just the regular braid hanging down, I just wove the ribbon back and forth through the braid. Syd and I both love the results!

For more information about breast cancer, you can check out Susan G. Komen for the Cure, The National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society.


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